Sublime Miller secures Proteas series win as records tumble

2016-10-05 21:32
David Miller (Gallo)

Durban - A simply sublime David Miller century secured a record-breaking four wicket win for South Africa against Australia at Kingsmead on Wednesday night. 

The Australians had set the highest ever total recorded in an ODI at Kingsmead when they earlier posted 371/6, while the biggest ever successful run chase at the ground was a modest 271 back in 2002 - Australia beating the Proteas that day.

But the Proteas, and Miller, smashed both of those records in epic fashion. 

In the end Miller, who batted for most of his innings with a groin strain, finished 118* (79) in a knock that has seen him return to form in a big way and surely secure a spot in this team for some time to come.

The Proteas had made two changes to their side, with Dwaine Pretorius coming in for the injured Wayne Parnell (rib) while Hashim Amla's return saw Farhaan Behardien left out. 

It meant that Rilee Rossouw moved down the order, but before any of that the Proteas would have to bowl as Australian captain Steve Smith won the toss and chose to bat. 

It didn't go well for the hosts as Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada struggled. 

There had been a perception that the Kingsmead wicket would make life more difficult for the batsmen following the weekend's action at Centurion and the Wanderers. 

But David Warner and Aaron Finch had no trouble and they blitzed their way to 100/0 in just 11.4 overs. 

Steyn and Rabada were punished severely and it was only when captain Faf du Plessis turned to Imran Tahir that the scoring slowed somewhat. 

Tahir had Finch caught by Rabada at mid-off (53). 

Warner, though, was in the mood. 

He put on 124 with captain Steve Smith before he fell to Tahir for 117 from 107. 

Smith kept going, and he reached his own century in the 46th over. 

Du Plessis mixed it up - Steyn came back for two spells - but the Aussies were relentless. 

George Bailey (28 from 18), Travis Head (35 from 18) and Matt Wade (17 from 8) chipped in to give the visitors a commanding 371/6 - the highest score this ground has ever seen in ODIs. 

In the end, Steyn's 2/96 (10) and Rabada's 1/86 (10) were the worst figures either bowler had ever carded in their ODI careers. 

Steyn was hit for five sixes and nine fours. 

It was always going to be a tough ask for the Proteas, but Amla and Quinton de Kock were off to a flyer as they reached 40/0 after 5. 

Amla, in particular, was impressive but his brisk stay ended when he was trapped lbw for 45 (30) after shuffling across a John Hastings delivery. 

Du Plessis joined De Kock, and the pair took SA to 100 in the 14th over. 

Du Plessis was fluent, reaching 33 from 32 before he hit part time off-spinner Travis Head straight down Warner's throat. 

As Rossouw joined the fray, the responsibility on De Kock grew.

It wasn't to be as the in-form Proteas opener fell to Chris Tremain for 70 off just 49. 

When Rossouw departed for 18, the Proteas were 179/4 and the total began to look a long way away. 

JP Duminy (20) looked good before he went big at a Hastings delivery only to be caught on the boundary, and with that dismissal South Africa's hopes fell on the shoulders of Miller.

Many had thought that the Knights striker was set to lose his place to Amla, so he would have been determined to prove his worth in this ODI side.  

He did just that.

Miller hit the ball hard, sweet and far. 

The problem was that he was running out of partners. 

Pretorius nudged it around for 15 before he was gone, and then Andile Phehlukwayo joined his former Dolphins team-mate. 

Miller was unstoppable, reaching his third ODI century in 69 balls, but he was ably supported by Phehlukwayo who showed immense maturity to finish 42* as the Proteas won with four balls to spare.

Scores in brief:

Australia 371/6 (Warner 117, Smith 108, Finch 53, Head 35, Tahir 2/54, Steyn 2/96)

SA 372/6 in 49.2 (Miller 118*, De Kock 70, Amla 45, Phehlukwayo 42*)

SA won by 4 wickets

Read more on:    proteas  |  david miller  |  durban  |  cricket

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